Thanks to the ultra-romanticism of European countries, every Desi traveller now holds the dream of visiting Europe at least once in his lifetime. We all know how the Chopras and the Johars love Switzerland; they’ve made skimpily clad actresses dance in the worst of winters, and spanned redundantly eternal love stories around Europe’s riches. However far-fetched that may be, getting a Schengen visa is not that hard. If you get all your documents sorted, you will not have to worry about getting your Schengen visa on time. Here we come into the picture, to help you in applying for Schengen visa the right way!
1. Now, you may wonder which countries fall in the Schengen Area. There are 26 countries that fall in the Schengen region - 23 from Europe, and other 3 being Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. You can travel to these 26 countries with a single visa.
2. Having stated that, it could get confusing as to which country you should approach, to apply for a Schengen visa. As a thumb rule, you apply with the country where you are staying for a longer amount of time.
E.g. Say, you are staying in Spain for 5 days, Portugal for 5 days and Germany for 12 days, then you should apply your visa with Germany.
If your stay is equally divided among 2 countries, then you must apply with the country that you’ll be visiting first.
3. If you have to travel to a European region that doesn’t fall in the Schengen area, you’ll need a valid visa for that country as well.
E.g: If your itinerary is Switzerland + London, then you’ll need to have a valid Schengen as well as a UK visa.
If that’s still confusing, send in your application for visa and we’ll get all that sorted for you.
4. Indians do not have the facility of visa on arrival for Schengen visa. They need to apply for a Schengen visa before their departure dates and can stay up to a period of 90 days.
5. Indians can get a single-entry or a multiple-entry visa based on their itinerary for 90 days only valid for 6 months i.e. If you have a multiple-entry visa, you can use it over a spread of 6 months, up to its validity. Post that, you’ll have to apply for a new visa.
6. Know your purpose of visit. This will help you in knowing which visa you should be applying for - tourist visa, business visa, transit visa or the like.
To apply for a Schengen visa, you’d require a Schengen application form duly filled and signed, recent passport size photograph, passport valid for at least 3 months prior to your departure having at least two blank pages, confirmed return air ticket with hotel reservation and a secured medical insurance covering expenses up to 30,000 Euros, depending on your duration of stay.
8. However, you’d need the following additional documents if you are travelling to meet your friend or relative staying in a Schengen country.
- Bank statements for the last 6 months. In case you do not have a bank account or lack sufficient funds, ask a friend or relative to sign an ‘official affidavit of support’ and carry this original document along with the Schengen visa.
- Purpose of visit and duration of travel written down in a letter.
- In case you are a first time traveller, you would be required to submit your income tax returns for the past 3 years, appointment letter, proof of legal entity of the company.
- Reference letter from your employer.
- In case you’re the owner of the company, then bank statements and tax returns have to be attached.
Author : Winnie Karnik